Tag Archives: Josh McIver

Outsource Control Panel Jobs to Lower Cost, Risk

Posted October 5, 2016 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog, Control Panel

Tags: , , ,

Why outsource control panel jobs? One reason is that a panel shop can save you money on parts because many times, the panel shop orders in much larger quantities.

Why outsource control panel jobs? One reason is that a panel shop can save you money on parts because many times, the panel shop orders in much larger quantities.

Should you outsource control panel jobs, or build them yourself? As a manager, the first thought that comes to mind is, "When I build this panel in-house, I am going to save a ton of money on engineering and labor."  Not so fast.

When you use in-house full time employees to build your control panels, it's easy to lose track of how much the labor is actually costing the company per design/build over the course of the year. Also, building your own panels means working in an environment not already setup for panel designs and builds. The result can be diminishing quality of documentation, labeling, and workmanship.

With the efficiency of an experienced panel shop, the man hours that go into these outsource control panel jobs are reduced which will generally offset the increased contract labor cost. Beyond this topic there are many advantages to having a control panel built by a panel shop.

Cost savings in the components because the panel shop buys in higher quantities.

A panel shop can design and program your control system. They already have the design software and most of the  software used by different devices inside the panel. and all of the necessary software’s for the different devices used in the panel.

A quality panel shop is a resource for support. It also should maintain documentation and back up programs for you when you outsource your control panel.

If you require a UL certification, you sure don't want to go through the rigorous certification process for just a few panels. Trust me, it's expensive and time consuming and involves periodic audits. Unless you are already UL certified, outsource control panels that need UL certification.

Panel going into explosive environments or safety systems? It is never a good idea to build your own panels for these types of applications. Outsource control panels when the risk is injury to workers.

McIver

McIver

If you need to build a mass quantity of panels in a short period of time you may want to outsource some of those builds. This will increase the rate you can build each unit without having to increase manpower.

When you outsource a control panel, you get a warranty. You don’t have to worry about your employee wiring something incorrectly and damaging any of these high-priced components. You'll also have a warranty on the workmanship.

Josh McIver is a Field Applications Engineer in Innovative-IDM's Dallas-area office. You can reach him at josh.mciver@iidm.com

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Installing Electrical Components in Explosive Environments: 10 Things to Know

Posted March 18, 2016 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog

Tags: , , ,

By no means is this article intended as the total training for installing electrical components in explosive environments. But there are some common cautionary items that even the most experienced technician will agree are baseline guidelines for anyone. You can't be too careful, nor can you take for granted the obvious. So I give to you the obvious.

1. Know your class/division standard

The NFPA Publication 70, NEC, and CEC are the most commonly used classifications in North America also known as the Class/Division system. The other system is known as the zone standard. Both systems are suitable and have been proven to be a safe standard to use. This document discusses the Class/Division standard.

2. Are there explosive gases or dust may in the installation area?

Enough said. Be careful.

3. Know what class of components you’re Installing.

There are three classes the components are categorized in:

 

when installing electrical compoenents in explosive environments, watch out for this warning sign

Danger, Danger Will Robinson...Proceed with caution.

Class 1- Flammable vapors or gases may be present.

Class 2- Combustible dust may be present.

Class 3- Ignitable fibers or floating particles may be present.

4. Know what division your components are in.

When Installing Electrical Components in Explosive Environments, there are two divisions the components are categorized in:

Division 1- Ignitable concentrations of explosive hazards exists under normal operation and where explosive hazards can be caused by maintenance or equipment failure

Division 2- Ignitable concentrations of explosive hazards are handled, processed, or used but are in closed containers where they can only accidentally be released into the area.

5. Know what kind of gas you’re working w

ith.

There are four groups that gases have been separated into based on the maximum explosion pressure and the clearance needed between parts of a clamped joint in an enclosure. This can be found in the NEC section 500-5(a)(4) FPN no. 2

6. Know your Equipment’s Maximum Operating Temperature

The temperature classification is the maximum operating temperature that you should not exceed on the equipment’s surface which could create an ignition source. These classifications can be found in NEC section 500-5(d).

7. UL Publication 698 is the Industrial Control Equipment standard for use in hazardous locations.

Familiarize yourself with this publication before installing electrical components in explosive environments.

8. Know the Right Enclosure Type.

Type 7 Enclosures are designed to meet explosion proof requirements and Type 9 Enclosures are designed to meet dust ignition proof requirements. These are rated for indoor use. They can come with a Type 3R or 4 rating for outdoor use.

9. Know How to Seal Your Enclosures.

Conduit or cable seals must be used to prevent gas or dust from entering the enclosure through the cable entry point. You must seal the entry point within 18 inches of the entry point to the panel. Potted conduit or cable connectors are most commonly used for this.

10. Know Your Alternatives.

You can avoid using explosion proof enclosures by using intrinsically safe components. These components are designed so that they cannot produce enough energy to create an ignition source. These components, like positive pressure panels, use hermetically sealed components that are sealed by soldering, welding, or glass fusion to metal to stop any gases or dust from coming in contact with electrical arcs.

Josh McIver

McIver

Josh McIver is a Field Applications Engineer in the Dallas office of Innovative-IDM. He can be reached at josh.mciver@iidm.com

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